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Friday, May 14, 2004

The IT Marksman at Wal-Mart via Businessweek

As the retailing behemoth's CIO, Linda Dillman sets -- and hits -- the tech targets that change how the entire industry operates.Wal-Mart has long regarded being on the cutting edge of technology as a strategy for cutting costs -- and as the surest way to beat the competition. Consequently, the world's largest discount chain "is usually one of the first movers in retail technologyTo Linda Dillman, executive vice-president and chief information officer at Wal-Mart, info tech is a puzzle to solve -- just like Scrabble, the crossword, or Rubik's cube. "I've spent hours, hours, and hours working on this stuff," Dillman says. "With technology, you're constantly trying to arrange things differently to solve a problem." In fact, Dillman is likely partly responsible for this year's jump in retail industry spending on technology. With Wal-Mart upping the competitive ante, retailers that historically been thrifty will spend 9% more on technology in 2004 than in 2003, according to an April survey of 27 retail-industry CIOs by tech consultancy AMR Research.
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